Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I shall stand up no more forever

Now that Sybrina Fulton - mother of deceased Arizona Iced Tea drinking, Skittle-eating, hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin - has testified on Capitol Hill that states' 'Stand Your Ground' laws don't work and should be changed, I am turning over a new leaf.  On account of the high regard I hold for Ms. Fulton as a recognized expert in criminal justice and constitutional law, I am going to make a pointed effort to buy a dozen daisies every day at the Kroger, and place them in the barrels of passing Open Carry Texas demonstrators' rifles and shotguns.

Oh, and I'm also gonna sing kumbaya to my dog each night before bedtime.

Since I've vented my sarcasm, I'll be more serious.

Trayvon Martin wasn't the angel most in the media made him out to be - but neither was he public enemy #1 as many character assassins attempted to portray him.  He was, likely, a fairly typical 21st century teen.  He didn't deserve to die, but he did make a tragically dumb mistake.  It's not fair, but mistakes can be terribly unforgiving.

If I were wearing dark, concealing clothing, and traipsing between buildings in Southlake Town Square, shotgun houses in Polytechnic Heights, or mansions in Westover Hills, and was confronted by a homeowner, rent-a-cop, or police officer, it would be in my best interest to comply with the person, no matter my level of righteous indignation at being accosted.  Trayvon instead chose to punch Mr. Zimmerman.

Eliminating 'Stand Your Ground' laws won't bring back Ms. Fulton's son, and would be a step in the wrong direction, as it's every individual's inalienable right to self defense.

Where Trayvon's mother could more effectively direct her efforts would be campaigning for additional Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) content in states' firearm carry courses, and in criminal justice contexts.  I have taken CHL training that emphasized when a permit holder may lawfully discharge his firearm.  And I've taken instruction underscoring the preference for preventing situations that would require shots to be fired.  As a resolute 2A supporter and ardent champion of the right to self defense (and of others), my preference is for the latter.

Monday, October 28, 2013

µ² Bus

That's micro micro Bus.  This one's missing 4-1/2 feet from its midsection.

The cheese sampling chick told me it's a 1966 model, standard shift, and it's street legal - although it's trailered from town to town.

In 1983, I bought a normally sized 1975 VW microbus, with auto transmission - same orange color, sans cheese graphics. Three weeks later, the sucker threw a rod through the right crankcase half on 114 near the present-day Solana complex. After jacking around with a shyster mechanic - who promised to find a replacement engine - for about 3 weeks, I bought a used fuel-injected 1800cc powerplant from a 411 Fastback at a junkyard on Elliot-Reeder Road for about $350, and painstakingly transferred all the sheetmetal baffles to the 'new' motor.  It saw infrequent use until I sold it, in 1986, I think.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe Todd the Blogger told me that 
the Dew had just such a ride to school, back in the day.

It's still my contention that driving a VW Microbus is a uniquely fun experience, being fore of the front wheels.

Until, of course, you find yourself in a situation where you personally comprise the 'crumple zone'.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Here's to creativity...

Owing, I assume, to her mother, my daughter is tremendously creative. I, on the other hand, possibly having built too many Revell models as a kid, tend toward the more mundane, and, at times inane, such as you frequently encounter in these posts. With great excitement Saturday evening, Daughter beckoned me to the back yard, whereupon I saw the following sight, giving me a flashback to The Blair Witch Project, or maybe Close Encounters of the Third Kind:

It seems every lighting device extant from the house - from small lanterns and headlamps, LED flashlights to glow sticks and tea lamps - had somehow ended up outside.

Here's the view the next day:

As I understand it, this is a fort, as evidenced by the clear area in the middle.  A circular ring of sticks and smooth stones - the significance of which was carefully explained to me - delineates the perimeter, and a welcome mat/sidewalk of twigs can be seen in the lower right, leading to the threshold/entrance.  Leaves have been scattered within the perimeter as decoration.

Sienna was just happy to be soaking up some sunshine.

Now, while this may not look to be a heavily fortified area, it must have had some special powers, as we were able to sleep most peacefully, undisturbed, about 25 feet away on the deck - under the stars - that night.

Monday, October 21, 2013

People are cray-cray

God is great, and there are several beers I like (I pursued homebrewing for a while, several years ago).

But, still, people are crazy.  Like, for instance, parents of a murdered grown woman, who because of their beloved 28 year old daughter's love for SquareBob SpongePants (don't try to correct me, just play along), decided to memorialize her thusly:

I mean, seriously?  In the military and 28 years old - and idolizing a cartoon character?  Or is this a case of the parents failing to grasp the notion that their daughter was a grown woman?

"Why, good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Nit-Wit - it's so good to see you!  Won't you please step this way - yes, into this room - lovely Nurse Ratched has been kind enough to pour some warm milk for you.  Yes, yes, that's it, step into the room - Dr. Sanderson will be by to visit with you shortly..."

I'm a huge Leave it to Beaver fan, but I've no desire to spend eternity in a billboard soup bowl.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Catgut Fever

And another video from the Tiffany¹ Network, regarding the Titanic bandleader's violin, recently sold at auction:

Not bad for a waterlogged fiddle...but can it play San Antonio Rose?

¹ The 'Eye' Network, not the '80s pop-chick cutie.

Do unto others

While the video piece doesn't speak to Dan Dewey's outlook on faith issues, I've got a feeling he understands Jesus' commandment to 'love one another':

...and I'm not even a fan or customer of the Starbucks.

h/t: Steppenwolfie, a/k/a John K.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love's Lost Labours

Ya know, sometimes it just don't work out.

The Bard - who wrote plays and poems prayers and promises,  as well as an episode of Moonlighting - recognized this in the 1950s, er, I mean the 1590s (I must have sexdaily dyslexia).

Then, in the 1960s Jimmy Webb wrote (and Richard Harris popularized), the following elegant elegy (and maybe a bit trippy) to lost romance:

Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!

I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees.
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You'll still be the one.

Well, what's old is new, and vice-versa.  In 2007, a Texas-born songwriter who has possibly been mentioned on these pages from time to time, with collaborator Steuart Smith, wrote these lyrics in a similar vein using many of the same images and metaphors, but recognizing the endurance of weathering life's seasons; acceptance, healing, and steadfastnest - and the hope of renewal:

I've been biding time with the crows and sparrows
While peacocks prance and strut upon the stage
If finding love is just a dance
Proximity and chance
You will excuse me if I skip the masquerade.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for the dust to settle down along the
Back roads running through the fields
Lying on the outskirts of this lonesome town
And I imagine sunlight in your hair
You're at the county fair
You're holding hands and laughing

And now the Ferris wheel has stopped
You're swinging on the top
Suspended there with him.

And he's the darling of the chic
The flavor of the week is melting
Down your pretty summer dress
Baby, what a mess you're making.

I've been stumbling through some dark places
Now I'm following the plow
I know I've fallen out of your good graces
It's all right now.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for the summer rain to fall upon the
Wild birds scattering the seeds
Answering the calling of the tide's eternal tune
The phases of the moon
The chambers of the heart
The egg and dart
A small gray spider spinning in the dark
In spite of all the times the web is torn apart.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ride the Musical Carousel - An American Songbook

A seemingly disparate set of tunes.

So hippie-dippy Sixties...yeah, I only lasted about 30 seconds viewing it.

Probably not the version you remember - and certainly no Donna Summer. (Thankfully)
I think it's my new favorite arrangement/performance of this song.
More on that later¹.

If you don't remember this song, by heart, from the Sixties, you just weren't there.
Probably wasn't a jukebox in the whole USA that didn't have this song.
He's a pretty good guitarist, too, isn't he?

The Chairman of the Board/Ol' Blue Eyes brings this meeting to order.

Simon-less, Garfunkling, from Artie's debut album. What a voice.

In the mid '70s, it was Waylon & Willie that turned me on to country music.

And with these other two made it as big in the genre as any.

So, what ties all these songs together, you may ask?

All were composed by Jimmy Webb (seen performing in the second video), who also wrote The Last Unicorn, Galveston, By the time I Get to Phoenix, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

Courtesy of a now nearly lifelong friend (going back to 1970), I was priviledged to see Mr. Webb perform last month at the Kessler Theatre in Oak Cliff, seated about 8 rows from the musician, with a clear view down the center aisle.  It was an absolute blast to - at times on the request of the performer - sing along with a couple hundred others to tunes we all know by heart.  ¹ With the passing of four-plus decades, he still struggles with those high registers - only now he invites the audience members to assist, and they gladly oblige.

Mr. Webb was amused when I told him of my elementary school days, when I would serenade my parents from my room until I fell asleep - or Dad told me to shut up - by singing two or three of his compositions nightly from The Glen Campbell Music Book.

Not responsible for any earworms that may result from viewing this blogpost.