Archive for the ‘Observations and Commentary’ Category

Yesterday Texas slipped further back into its wild, wild west fantasies. A flurry of laws went into effect which make the Lone Star State a fascinating and depressing petri dish of individual liberty and systematic repression. The ever-shifting Texan ground is fertile for commentary. Today let’s focus on House Bill 1927.

House Bill 1927, named for the last year when all was right with America dammit, allows most Texans to carry a handgun without first securing a permit. Before you get all indignant, keep in mind the Texas legislature is a reasonable body comprised of rational people making common-sense laws. For example, anyone convicted of a felony or domestic violence will still need that permit. Sensible, right? You should feel ashamed for scoffing at the notion the Texas legislature is anything other than reasonable.

Assuming you are without conviction, you are now free to carry your gun as you please. You can mosey down the street and play cowboy without needing a stupid piece of paper from a stupid bureaucratic hack trying to enforce (more…)

Since musician Nanci Griffith’s recent death her fans have flooded social media with an avalanche of tributes. They reflected on songs and albums which hold special meaning. They remembered concerts and television appearances. They talked about times when her music shepherded them through challenging periods. These posts were (and still are) varied, heartfelt, and often tinged with sadness and melancholy. But almost universally they were framed with feelings of gratitude and thanks.

The official announcement of her passing specifically mentioned her wish that no details surrounding it be publicly shared for at least a week. It was a curious and, in this age, unusual choice, although (more…)

The relentless avalanche of details surrounding the most recent ex-president’s last two months in office brings to mind the radio crime dramas of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Sirius XM broadcasts many of these old programs like The Whistler, Boston Blackie, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. They also rerun comedies, variety shows, and straight dramas from the golden age of radio, but it is the mysteries which are particularly entertaining and nowadays, surprisingly instructive.

These shows did not deal in subtlety. A crime was discovered. The hero arrived at the scene, sussed out the whos and whats and wheres, and quickly settled upon a primary suspect. The rest of the program (more…)

As a child I had a troubling, recurring dream. I was probably 4 the first time I dreamt it and it would regularly return until I was 8 or 9. I hesitate calling it a nightmare since it never reached the point where I felt helpless and doomed. I would end the threat before it got that far, but I am jumping ahead.

In the dream it was the middle of the night. The drawn curtains blocked out the street lights. I was alone on the floor lying on my stomach watching television. My arms were propped up and my head rested in my hands. The television was in my father’s living room. It was a large, very old black and white Zenith, the kind that took a moment to warm up when first turned on. A small dot would appear in the center of the screen and gradually grow larger until the full picture appeared. When it was turned off, the dot (more…)

“Would you like anchovies on your pizza?”

Excuse me? Anchovies on my pizza? Are you pranking me? That’s hilarious! Where is the hidden camera? While you’re at it you should ask if I’d like a nice dusting of baby powder and a fresh dollop of mud on each slice.

“Have you ever tried it?”

Wait. You’re serious? Why would I eat that? Imagine the sound of rodents racing through the walls as you sit down in a restaurant. You don’t see the wall crawlers, but does that matter? Would you still want to order food? Not if you’re with me. If you multiply that sickening feeling by 1,000 you may understand the scope of horror I feel when it comes to anchovies on pizza.

“You should try it. How can you be certain if you’ve never tried it? Do your own research, man.”

For that I had no comeback. They were right. Until I (more…)

Most of us never see artists at work. Most of us never want to see artists at work. The process of visualizing, creating, refining, and polishing is the best left in the shadows. The multiple iterations required to arrive at a completed piece are neither appealing or interesting to most of us. The mental and emotional gyrations which spun and swirled in Van Gogh’s head and hand as he accelerated towards The Starry Night or Café Terrace at Night may fascinate, but they hardly make good viewing. Bach’s endless tinkering with notes and sounds while he composed the Brandenburg Concertos may appeal to the musicologist, but the rest of us are satisfied listening to the music. Nobody wants to see Meryl Streep stand in front of a mirror practicing gestures, accents, and tone while preparing for a role. The image of Anne Coates viewing reels of film in a cramped editing room, then manipulating them in search of the proper pacing for Lawrence of Arabia, is best left to film students. We just want to see the movie. The effort behind (more…)

we watch

Posted: August 27, 2020 in Observations and Commentary
Tags: , ,

We watch the world like it is a video game, full of carnage and mayhem, but never tactile or real. We watch chaos erupt in metropolises, cities, and towns. We watch protectors turn aggressor. We watch frustration turn to anger and anger turn to rage and rage turn to destruction. We watch military grade weapons filter into the hands of the unprepared and unstable. We watch youthful fervor morph into (more…)

Several months ago Amazon announced they planned to open a second corporate headquarters in either the United States or Canada. They named this new venture HQ2, not to be confused with the old school television shopping channels HSN and QVC. (2-3 weeks for delivery? How quaint!) Metropolitan areas were invited to pitch their “Pick Me!” stories. 238 proposals were received. Amazon promptly placed them in the “Save for Later” section of their shopping cart and continued their hugely successful mission to keep cardboard manufacturers busy.

Well, “later” has arrived. Sorta. The top 20 finalists were announced today. It is an understandably exciting time for these hopefuls. Amazon projects (more…)


Tom Petty has been gone for three months, but it still doesn’t feel real. Since the mid-70’s he has always been there doing his thing without much fanfare, like bedrock. His songs, especially the earlier ones, routinely pop up on classic rock stations. Whenever that happens the volume gets boosted a bit. Part of the reason is the songs are solid; the other is they offer warm familiarity. This may be true of all music you enjoyed as a kid, but not of all that music endures. Petty endures, like bedrock.

I was never a superfan, but I like a lot of his work – and love some of it. I saw him live for the first and only time in 1979. Back then huge video screens did not flank the stage, so unless (more…)

Man, the years keep on keeping on, don’t they? It seems like just yesterday when 2016 exploded into 2017 and the prospect of the new year brought with it an impending sense of doom which lurked just around the corner of January and 20th. We use “impending” as a harbinger, a warning that it is time to prepare for bad, bad juju because it will soon be spewing from every crevice and pore. One does not think of an impending ice cream cone or an impending night out at the cinema. No sir. Impending is saved for the serious shit – an impending (more…)