Little Mr. Got It Wrong

Music Monday

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is an amazing place. i’ve lived here all my life: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. There’s a distinct iconoclastic culture here that i’ve found nowhere else in my travels throughout the United States and various Latin American and European countries. The outdoor activities are numerous: In a little more than an hour i can ski some of the greatest snow-covered peaks this land has to offer; or head the other direction and ponder life while viewing amazing beach heads and coastlines; Great hiking; huge rivers; fantastic white-water; world-class sports teams; some of the best music from jazz to alt rock. Where else can one say they have an active volcano in their back yard?

When i recently stumbled across a rendering of a “typical” Seattle native, i took slight offense. The line drawing included in Christian Lander’s latest book, “Whiter Shades of Pale,” depicts what he believes is a stereotypical urban Seattle male. Christian is the man behind Stuff White People Like, a satirical and often funny observations of conventional and banal habits, desires, and social constructs of the melanin deficient. But this time he hit a slight nerve.

i know this is a caricature. i can forgive the hikers, café au lait cliché (i’m not a fan), and facial scruff. A sweater?! Obviously Mr. Lander doesn’t travel here much. i rarely see sweaters, especially with reindeer stitch. This is the PNW, it doesn’t get that cold. Wet? YES! Cold? Not so much. Besides, half the people are still wearing cargo shorts in November (Yep, we’re a different breed up here). Nonetheless, if you could argue rationally about this, i might let it go.

However… Spin Doctors?! Unforgivable! Does Lander realize, perhaps aside from Austin TX,  that the PNW is the coolest place on the planet for music? Is he aware  the Portland and Seattle areas once were or are home to such international artists as Bing Crosby, The Kingsmen, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Robert Cray, Jeff Lorber Fusion, Dave Friesen, Quarterflash, Nu Shooz, Dan Reed Network, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, M. Ward,  The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, The Shins, Elliot Smith, The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, Spoon, Steven Malkmus (Pavement), Johnny Marr (The Smiths; Modest Mouse; The Cribs), Gary Jarman (The Cribs), Willie Nelson (yep, long before he was famous), Courtney Love, Heatmiser, Hockey, Portugal.The Man, The Dimes, Blitzen Trapper, Pink Martini, Kutless, Storm Large, Helio Sequence, Frank Black (The Pixies), Larry Norman, Meredith Brooks, and Hoyt Axton?

Let’s get Seattle specific: The Posies, Peter Buck (REM), Soundgarden, The Postal Service, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Queensryche, Alice In Chains, The Ventures, Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie, Dave Grohl (Nirvana; Foo Fighters), The Presidents of the United States of America, Jimi Hendrix, The Fleetwoods, Steve Miller, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Heart, Scott McCaughey (The Young Fresh Fellows; The Minus 5), Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, The Melvins, Green River, The Wailers, Jerry Miller (Moby Grape), Bloodgood, Temple of the Dog, Owl City, Metal Church, Sanctuary, MxPx, Screaming Trees, Lucid, Candlebox, Foo Fighters, Bikini Kill, Sunny Day Real Estate, Beat Happening…

And Lander would muse that any self-respecting Seattle-ite would toque homage a New York based two-hit-wonder (“Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”) like The Spin Doctors?!

Anyone with me on this?

~End vindication~

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All The World’s A Stooge…

Welcome to Fun Friday…

my first recollection of The Three Stooges was as a child, watching their strung together shorts during lazy Saturday afternoon television viewing. Moe, the self-confident, short-tempered leader of the trio; Curley, the shaved-head affable energizer bumble; Larry, the curly-tossle-topped goof (it was always confusing to me why the one with the curly hair wasn’t called “Curley”).

The Three Stooges had a 40 year film career beginning in the early 1930s. Throughout their career, Moe and Larry were the constants, with various others filling out the third stooge role. As my familiarity with The Three Stooges grew, i became in awe of Shemp.  One of the original trio, Shemp had perfect comedic timing and odd facial caricatures that always made me smile. Shemp, who was Moe’s brother, left the act to pursue a moderately successful solo career in 1933. Replaced by younger brother Jerry (aka Curley), The Stooges would go on to greater success. Shemp rejoined the group “temporarily” after Curley suffered a debilitating stroke in 1946. Unfortunately Curley never recovered and Shemp became a permanent replacement until his own death in 1955.

Shemp’s role on a couple of unfinished films was filled out by comedian Joe Palma. A permanent replacement was found a year later in Joe Besser. Besser left the act in 1959

Besser

to care for his ailing wife and was replaced by comic Joe (Curly-Joe) Derita (What’s with all the Joez). They continued to film and perform live until 1970 when Larry suffered a stroke. Moe continued the live act for five more years with several other comedians as his stooging companions until his

DeRita

death in 1975.

Currently in production is a new Three Stooges film. Someone is trying to replace these whimsical weirdlings. Can it be done? Personally, i love Shemp. Moe, Curley, and Larry are exquisite. I can do with out the rest.

The Three Stooges made 206 short films, 14 feature length films, and 156 animated television shows. They were mesmerizingly stoopid stupid. They are a timeless classic.

Who is your favorite Stooge? Do you have a favorite Stooge memory/film? What do you think of a new Three Stooges? And… why is it that your first name has to be Joe to fill a Shemp?

~End nyuck~

i Give Up!

Oh, the city’s alight
With lovers and lies
Bright blue eyes
Oh, the city is bright
It’s brighter than day tonight

Surrender, Surrender
Surrender, Surrender

Sadie said she couldn’t work out
What it was all about
And so she let go
Now Sadie’s on the street
And the people she meets you know
She tried to be a good girl and a good wife
Raise a good family
Lead a good life
It’s not good enough
She got herself up on the 48th floor
Gotta find out
Find out what she’s living for

Surrender, Surrender
Surrender, Surrender

Tonight…

Oh, the city’s afire
A passionate flame
It knows me by name
Oh, the city’s desire
To take me for more and more
It’s in the street, getting under my feet
It’s in the air, it’s everywhere
I look for you
It’s in the things I do and say
If I wanna live I gotta
Die to myself someday

Papa sing my sing my sing my song

“Surrender” by U2 (Adam Clayton, David Evans, Paul Hewson and Larry Mullen Jr.)

Not one of U2’s anthemic masterpieces, but an affecting song about forgoing personal desires, surrendering to what is right. Just when i think i’ve surrendered and sacrificed all there is some new area of my life creeps into the light, revealing it stubborn, loathsome face in shameful defiance. Ahh… something new i have to deal with. More pursuance, more introspection, dislodging and vivisecting.

For those who live to love and serve, the hard work of becoming better people is never complete. New lies, lusts, cheats, deceptions tend to muddle their way to the surface just when we think self-purging is near completion. As much as we might try to rationalize our shortcomings, they will get the better of us if ignored.

Jesus certainly made the point of this laborious undertaking, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (Luke 9.23-24)

Surrender becomes increasingly difficult as we are aware a need for it. Even as the song points this out in the last stanza. But the singer’s quest is to win in victory by surrendering his selfish desire and have ‘Papa’ “sing” his praises, “Well done!” Dying to self-will seems  a Herculean task. Theologian and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer summarized Jesus’ words above most poignantly, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him to come and die.”

~End resistance~

Primate Pandemonium

At times when i’d be gardening, picking luscious blueberries to add to my morning yogurt, or just lounging around in the back yard my ears would turn to the most curious of sounds emanating from the house behind me. Sometimes it sounded somewhat like a dog’s bark, other times more like the cry of an infant. Whatever the call, the two monkeys birthing these sounds were indeed rascals. i’m not sure what type of primates these were, but i estimate the little poo-flingers were about 18 inches in height and weighed between 7-10 pounds.

Their cage butted against a window that was often open during nice weather, to which the simian scoundrels clung to and shook themselves with fury. i was glad they were safely behind thick wire and glass. Especially as they would keenly fix their eyes on my every move, observing me in my natural habitat …mowing the lawn.

Still, i never experienced what the good people of Fremont, Ohio had to endure as they suffered at the hands of one of these tiny tyrants. Last week, it took several police officers more than three hours and discharging of weapons to subdue the angsty anthropoid. …Really?!

Maybe i should change this to Wiersma Wednesday. Just a thought.

Slow news day in Fremont, OH or should there be a monkey business ban? Monkeys in your neighborhood? They’re certainly in mine.

~End brachiation~

God Went Golfing.

Last Sunday was Father’s Day. The one day in the year specifically set aside for sons and daughters to dignify their sire with a Hallmark card, a neck tie, a family BBQ, an interrupted baseball game, or perhaps a day of fishing or a round on the links. But this Father’s Day, one Dad was missing …Abba.

No, not the Swedish pop group. Abba is an Aramaic term meaning father. ‘Abba’ is what a small child would call their daddy or papa, often used as a descriptor in the New Testament of the Bible by Jesus and His followers to infer to an intimate relationship with God (Mark 14.36; Romans 8.15; Galatians 4.6).

Now, when i say He was missing, i mean He was absent from The Pledge of Allegiance. It seems that during the beginning of NBC’s telecast of the US Open Golf Tournament they had a patriotic montage inter-cut with footage of school children reciting the American Pledge of Allegiance. However, the “under god” portion of the creed was deleted by editors.

There was mass outcry from viewers. Though, i’m not sure why. Originally the “under God” term was not in the 1892 declaration. President Eisenhower signed legislation concerning The Pledge in 1954, which added the two words.

Here’s why i’m not upset:

1. Though this nation was founded on principles of faith and by men of faith, who called themselves Christians, their practice of Christianity was often far from following the God that the Old and New Testaments characterize.

2. The god that people think of when they recite The Pledge of Allegiance could be any god they imagine: Hindu, Muslim, nothing, etc.

3. People have been omitting God from all kinds of things (especially their personal lives) for millennia.

4. i’m not under the delusion that this is truly a unified nation “under God.”

5. Despite what people may say or not say…  God is not going anywhere.

Whether He is acknowledged or not, God is still on the golf course. Just don’t expect him to shag your balls.

What are your thoughts on BBC’s choice to deliberately edit The Pledge?

~End mulligan~

Walmart… a nice place to shop(lift).

North Carolina is a beautiful state. Why else would it have a city called Eden: A veritable garden of lush vegetation, thriving fauna, and the finest of personal amenities anyone could hope to cull from their local Walmart. Well, at least it was for Amber Shaquille Duncan until she was caught pilfering from the retail giant.

People steal for many reasons, for money, or drug money, out of desire, need, survival, obsession or just for the thrill. With Amber, i’m not interested in her motivation as much as her application. Here is what Ms. Duncan lifted: a box of fruit snacks, a box of granola bars, a can of cashews (my favorite), a pack of water balloons, three water guns, and a home pregnancy test.

i have a pretty good idea why Amber swiped these particular items. i’d rather hear your reasoning.

What do you think the story is for Amber snitching these things?

~End heist~

Have Trident, Will Travel.

Why is the devil red? Where did the notion come from that Satan is a hulking red brute with menacing chiseled features: protruding brow supporting ominous speared horns and hides sunken yellow eyes; a hardened jaw line framing a ravenous mouth of abnormally long, piercing incisors that look to shred the most tensile metal; a sniping tail that wields to unexpectedly pierce lustfully at the nearest flesh? (Perhaps some of you good Cybermaritans could research these origins for me?)

i did a little research and found the first recorded public encounter with Satan occurs in the Bible, the book of Genesis, Chapter 3. He is in the form of a serpent. Encountering the serpent, Eve is not repulsed, frightened or even intimidated. She simply enters into conversation. Subtle… isn’t it?

This is how evil comes into my life. Not to disregard the heinous evil that many fall victim to in violent crime or betrayal. But the vast majority of us experience evil in seemingly benign means. Perhaps it’s the simply our own justification of a want or desire. Small, sometimes well-meant occurrences that fester into vices and lifestyles beyond our control: A white lie to deflect an argument, judgment, or make ourselves look better in the mind of others escalates into perjury; a quick lustful glimpse at a beauty on the street wrings into a dark pornographic sex addiction; a toke on a joint hurricanes to a heroin overdose; a compromise of values in a moment of desperation explodes to habitual crime. (i hope hyperbole is not lost  here.)

Whatever the situation, evil usually starts with a selfish desire. We all like to think we are important. And you are!! God thinks you are. But it’s when we think we are more important than someone else, our needs and desires come before others, this is where the lie begins.

In our Western culture our desires are catered and manipulated every day. Any salesperson on the planet worth his salt will tell you that the art of selling is to appeal to your emotions and desires, convince you that you need this product/service more than life itself. The common television viewer observes well over 70 of these appeals daily. Add to this print, radio, internet, and other advertising media, the average American is exposed to roughly 3000 appeals daily. WOW! In a recent study, education scientist Dr. Norman Herr noted that the average American child observes   20,000 30-second TV commercials. UNBELIEVABLE!!

Like the serpent who baited Eve with half-truths, telling her what she wanted to hear, appealing to her desire… so go our own hearts. We don’t need the devil in snakeskin… we’re bombarded countless times a day with fancy indulgence since we could turn the channel from Sesame Street. It’s not just advertisers. Every one of us puts on our salesman persona now and again to placate our friend, neighbor, co-worker, spiritual leader, counselor, supervisor, parent, significant other, child, and …yes, even God.

With a society that caters to our every whim of self-importance and entitlement, it’s no wonder we feel deserving and indulgent and that, “I am the most important person on the planet.” So if you’re wait is more than five minutes in the fast food drive through you pitch a fit. “Where’s my damn burger?!” How ridiculous is that?? It wasn’t long ago that you would have had to milk the cow, age the cheese, slaughter and butcher another cow, grind the wheat, make the dough, build the fire, bake the buns, flame broil the beef… you haven’t even had time to think about condiments because you’ve starved to death making a cheeseburger (with all due respect to my vegetarian/vegan friends–you gotta love the cheeseburger). But today you can’t wait five minutes, so you scream at the poor teenage girl making $1.07 an hour, who did little more than take your cash in trade for a meal. Is that evil?! Not to some… but selfishness manifested as anger that seeks only self-satisfaction is as ugly as the proverbial satanic visage.  Just remember that then next time a well dressed person tells you what you want to hear.

~End antler~