December 18th, 2003

flavored with age

Rings 'n' things

I went to see the last Lord of the Rings movie. My Nyquil-soaked thoughts on it are here.

With what seems to be an invincible inevitability, I have gotten sick just prior to my vacation. If I could somehow exchange for fresh ones all the days of vacation I have spent in the throes of some kind of illness, I could take all of 2004 off. Anyway, this thing -- which I'm hoping is just a cold instead of the preliminary stages of the flu -- is a bit more worrisome than normal, because tomorrow afternoon, I get in my car and begin a 2000-mile drive. I don't want to do this in the midst of a codeine fit lest I end up as the grill ornament of someone's cab-over Pete, right next to the severed Garfield. So send me some healthy vibes, if you've got any.

It's very cold in Chicago today, but actually quite lovely -- a cool blue-gray with the remnants of Tuesday's snow still lingering around. This will be the first Christmas in a while I've not been in the Big Town; after 25 years of 80-degree holidays, I've finally gotten used to the notion of a white Christmas, and it'll be strange to spend it in San Antonio.

Which town, by the way, I profoundly hope is less boring than it was the last time I was there.

So, downside: me sick and hacky. On the up tip, though, I just got a hundred smackers for doing a very easy freelance gig that I knocked off about a month back, and the old man coughed up a surprisingly meaty check for Christmas (my dad is the only person who takes me seriously when I answer the question "what do you want for Christmas?" with the word "money"). And my friend Lara gave me a couple of nifty CDs which I am enjoying right now, and I'm actually looking forward to the road trip, assuming I don't spend the majority of it in an influenza stupor and the remainder of it in an intensive care ward. HEY ALL RIGHT!

Man, just a tip for you: the "Ny" in "NyQuil" stands for "nyght". Don't take that shit during the day or you'll feel like Clubber Lang has been smackin' you around like a side of beef for 6 hours.
flavored with age

Kiss an angel good morning

How do you stop the rain from falling? If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? Where did our love go? What do you get when you fall in love? Have you never been mellow?

Someday I will write an entire entry consisting of answers to rhetorical questions of shitty 1970s pop song lyrics. Today, though, is not that day.

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Man, if you get a chance to hear the American Song-Poem Anthology, take it. The American Song-Poem Christmas album, "Daddy, Is Santa Really Six Foot Four" (thanks, Jeff & Lara!) is also incredible. Your head will peel, your feet will spin, your soul will reel, the Sox will win.

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DayQuil, I love you. Will you be my wife?

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Lewis Lapham's new book of post-September 11th essays, Theater of War: In Which the Republic Becomes an Empire, is surprisingly good. Surprising not because it's good; Lapham is always good. Surprising because though it's layered in three feet of his normal sarcasm and cynicism, he actually allows himself to propose solutions, to suggest alternatives, to let his core sincerity and belief in the promise of the American system glitter a bit through the layers of mockery. Not that it's any kind of rah-rah book; he spares no one and nothing, and even steps away from his previous diffidence about the Israel question to deliver some nasty punches to the bloody body of Arel Sharon. But he escapes, with a few sentences here, a few ideas there, the accusation of being little more than a clever and perceptive fault-finder. If you've read Lapham, you'll really love this; if you haven't, it's a terrific and timely introduction.

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I've been experimenting lately with my country singing. I haven't done it in a while, but I've been inspired by a number of recent events: hanging out with Rob and Dave again, picking up some really excellent old-school country albums, seeing the Country Calendar show, Jeff's writing some really excellent crypto-Appalachian stuff, and immersing myself in Palace for the last few days or so. I've been singing along with CDs, trying to find my range again; tinkering around with covers I'd like to do; even hauling out a few new song lyrics. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all this; I'm not a great singer, and even if I was, I have neither the ability nor the desire to get a band going again. I'm not 20 years old anymore, and I have far too many obligations and far too little time to hang out in bars until 4AM for a $20 payoff. But I tell you what: sometimes singing makes me feel good.

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The American occupational government in Iraq has decided that they're going to stop providing network feeds (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) to Iraqi television stations, instead giving them "local" feeds that consist of material approved by the military. The reason? Because it is felt that the networks are feeding the people a non-stop diet of bad news, and the military wants them to hear about all the "good things that we're doing over there". Notwithstanding the often correct assumption that people will be swayed by what they see on television rather than what they see every day all around them, it's good to know that we still have a fine line in disguising our propaganda as public service. One does wonder how the cause of freedom and democracy (the currently stated Official Reason for War with Iraq, now that "threat to the U.S.", "sponsor of terrorism", "destabilizer of the region" and "possessor of weapons of mass destruction" have crapped out in the test markets) is well-served by the replacement of news broadcasts with government-sponsored propaganda films, but I suppose Donald Rumsfeld knows best.

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I'm taking my hand-held with me on the road trip, and I might just experiment with LJ's post-by-phone feature, since I'm paying for the fucking thing. So if, sometime between now and the new year, an incoherent, nasal, muffled post about the wonders of the Ponca City Chicken Hut shows up here, you'll know why.